Obama offers condolences to UAE over army deaths in Yemen

In this photo made available by WAM, coffins containing the bodies of Emirati soldiers killed in Yemen arrive at the Al Bateen Airport early Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (AP)

U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday expressed his “deep condolences” in a phone call to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme UAE Armed Forces Commander Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nahyan over the deaths of 45 UAE soldiers killed in Yemen the day before, the White House said in a statement.

“The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people of the UAE and with the families of the fallen,” the White House statement added.

The 45 soldiers were killed when Houthi militias fired a missile at arms depot at a military base in Yemen’s eastern province of Marib, the UAE’s state news agency WAM reported. 10 Saudi soldiers, as well as 5 from Bahrain, were also killed in the attack.

Hours after the Houthi attack, UAE Air Force fighter jets launched strikes on militia targets.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are three key members of the Arab-led coalition seeking to restore the internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

In a statement issued on Friday, the UAE’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs said that President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan “mourns the death of the brave soldiers who martyred while performing their sacred duty as part of Arab coalition’s forces’ Operation Restoring Hope in order to defend justice and righteousness and to support those who suffer injustice.”

Early on Saturday, the bodies of the dead armed forces members were brought home onboard a military plane of the UAE air force and air defense.

The UAE’s ministry of presidential affairs declared a three-day period of mourning, starting from Saturday. Flags will be flown at half-mast for the duration of the mourning.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46